ARK Surtvival Ascended dino

Image source: Studio Wildcard

Hand holding.

The Island of ARK: Survival Ascended is teeming with dinos and lush island wilderness, where players must survive, build shelters, and fend off predators. But you can’t run off too far into the bush if you’re not the server host. That’s because of ARK’s non-dedicated tether distance mechanic. Here we’ll explain what it means and whether it’s possible to remove it. We’ve updated this guide for clarity.

Update: As of version 34.65, the tether distance in Survival Ascended was increased in mid February from 180-800. You can now travel much further from your buddy!

Non-Dedicated Tether Distance in ARK Survival Ascended, Explained

Tether Distance is a mechanic that determines how far players can venture from the host player. It applies to non-dedicated servers that are typically private, created by a host for their friends. The larger the tether distance, the further a player can move from the host. It is essential to note that this feature does not apply to dedicated servers.

A larger tether distance allows players to explore further sections of the map. It directly impacts the load on your hardware: the larger the tether distance, the more the game has to load, putting more stress on your PC or console.

A smaller tether distance can improve game performance, especially if your hardware is struggling with loading the game.

How to Change Tether Distance in Ark: Survival Ascended

To adjust the tether distance in ARK: Survival Ascended, follow the steps given below:

  1. Navigate to the ‘Host/Local’ option in the main menu.
  2. Locate the ‘General’ tab.
  3. Scroll down to the ‘Non-Dedicated Host Tether Distance’ setting.
  4. Adjust the slider or type in your preferred number. A larger number increases the tether distance, and a smaller one reduces it.

Remember, this setting only impacts non-dedicated servers. Unfortunately, the tether wheel setting does not provide much flexibility because even at its max setting of 3 players only get a max 180 meter distance before the host drags the other player along.

Can You Remove Non-Dedicated Tether Distance?

No. The game does not provide an option to completely eliminate the tether distance. However, you can almost nullify it by entering a significantly large number like 999 in the ‘Non-Dedicated Host Tether Distance’ instead of limiting it to the maximum slider value of three. This makes it seem as if there’s no tether distance at all.

The ARK community is understandably hoping that Studio Wildcard improves this over time.

Tether Distance and Game Performance

Something to keep in mind is that the higher tether distance requires your hardware to load more of the game world, which can significantly impact the game’s performance. If you’re using a PC with lower specs, it’s advisable to set a lower tether distance. Alternatively, you can also improve performance by lowering or turning off settings like Shadow Quality, Anti-Aliasing, Distance Field Ambient Occlusion, and View Distance.

The key to effectively managing tether distance in ARK: Survival Ascended is to strike a balance. If you want your party to stick close, lower the tether distance. If you’re okay with players wandering off and exploring, increase it. Just remember to keep an eye on the performance impact.

That wraps up this guide, but if you’re after more tips on the game then check out our starter guide — which acts as a hub for all our ARK content. We also have an interactive map page that highlights all the resources, POIs, and items in the game.